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HBCU alumni honored

HBCU alumni honored
November 19
00:00 2014
(pictured above:  Cheryl Harry presents a medallion to honoree Fisk President H. James Williams.)

A local company that sells a line of shirts, sweats and accessories that promote the state’s 11 historically black colleges and universities honored alumni of those schools Saturday night at the downtown Embassy Suites.

HBCU Promotionals’ North Carolina Living Legends Scholarship Gala bestowed honors upon dozens – men and women who have used the education they received at HBCUs to shape and lead the state.

Sen. Earline Parmon welcomes guests.

Sen. Earline Parmon welcomes guests.

“There are many wonderful people that have graduated from these institutions and without them many of us would not be where we are today,” said Sen. Earline Parmon, a Winston-Salem State alumna who was among the honorees.

A slew of her General Assembly colleagues took home awards as well: Rep. Nathan Baskerville, Rep. Larry Bell, Rep. Marcus Brandon, Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfield, Sen. Robert Clark III, Rep. Beverly Earle, Rep. Rosa Gill, Sen. Malcolm Graham, Rep. Larry Hall, Rep. Marvin Lucas, Rep. Henry “Mickey” Michaux Jr., Rep. Annie Mobley, Sen. Gladys Robinson and Rep. Evelyn Terry.

State. Rep Evelyn Terry receives her medal.

State. Rep Evelyn Terry receives her medal.

H. James Williams, a Winston-Salem native and president of Fisk University, a historic Nashville, Tenn.-based HBCU, was an honoree and the keynote speaker.

Williams, a North Carolina Central University alumnus, urged the more than 250 gala attendees to celebrate the past of HBCUs while investing in their futures.

“Think about what we have been able to garner as benefits because our schools helped us to become more aware of the world around us and appreciate the beauty of life,” he said. “Everybody needs to help everyday. If you’re an alumna or alumnus, you need to make sure that you are supporting your alma mater. It’s not just about money but we need your support. We have to be able to say to folks from whom we are asking for money that our alum support us. Give of yourselves and volunteer your services, expertise and networks.”

Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke, an honoree who attended Elisabeth City State University, applauded Williams’ speech and his appeal.

Burke

Burke

“It is wonderful that we have started talking about the black universities and colleges and the respect that we should give to them,” she said.

Financially supporting HBCUs is one of the missions of William Hairston Jr., president and CEO of HBCU Promotionals.

“The goal of this unique branded product line is to increase awareness, promote financial support to colleges and students, provide attractive quality HBCU apparel, establish a long-term vehicle through which Historical Black Colleges and Universities can be supported and maintain a quality image of HBCU,” Hairston states on his company’s website, www.hbcupromotionals.com.

The company produces a calendar featuring the faces and accomplishments of HBCU alumni. Proceeds from its sale fund student scholarships at the schools. A portion of gala ticket sales were also dedicated to that cause.

Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy junior Treyandrea Farid said she left the gala more confident in her decision to apply to N.C. Central next year. That was the organizers’ intent when they gave local high schools free tickets to the event to distribute to students.

Treyandrea Farid

Treyandrea Farid

“This was nice and educational,” she said. “By being here, I learned the history of the state’s HBCUs.”
Robert Wooten did not attend an HBCU but attended the gala to support the schools and all they have done.

“They’ve been the lifeline for our communities. They allow our children to be able to go to college and get a very good education,” he said. “Not only an education that’s steeped in academics, but one that teaches you about life.”

Honoree Judge Toby Fitch

Honoree Judge Toby Fitch

Other gala honorees included Winston-Salem Police Chief Barry Rountree, U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, columnist and motivational speaker Nigel Alston, N.C. NAACP President Dr. William Barber, gospel legend Shirley Caesar, Superior Court Judge Milton “Toby” Fitch, former WSSU Athletic Director William “Bill” Hayes, pediatrician Dr. Charlie Kennedy, Superior Court Judge A. Leon Stanback Jr., entrepreneur Nicholas Perkins and former State Rep. Larry Womble.

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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